Ptosis (eyelid lift) Surgery

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What is ptosis (eyelid lift) surgery?

Ptosis surgery is an operation to tighten the muscle that lifts your upper eyelid.

As you get older, the levator muscle that lifts your upper eyelid stretches and weakens, causing your eyelid to sag.

If you have a sagging eyelid that is interfering with your vision, ptosis surgery can be an effective treatment to improve your vision.

Ptosis surgery can also be performed to make you look younger if one of your eyelids has begun to sag or there is a difference in the height of your eyelids.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The position of your eyelid should improve and your face should look younger. If your eyelid is interfering with your vision, your vision should improve.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Ptosis surgery is the only effective way to tighten the levator muscle.

Ptosis props, fitted to glasses, can keep your eyelid lifted up but ptosis props can be awkward to wear and do not treat the problem.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a local anaesthetic that is injected in your eyelid and given as local-anaesthetic eye drops. The operation usually takes 45 to 90 minutes, depending on whether the operation involves both of your upper eyelids.

Your surgeon will usually make a cut on the natural skin crease of your eyelid. They will place stitches in the levator muscle to strengthen its attachment to your eyelid and to adjust the height of your eyelid.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home after a few hours.

Do not get your eyelid wet, do strenuous exercise or bend down until the stitches are removed.

Do not wear eye make-up or drink alcohol for a few weeks, and keep your face out of the sun.

Do not swim for 4 weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The results of ptosis surgery last for a long time. Your face will still continue to age but should always appear younger than if you had not had surgery.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site

Specific complications of this operation

  • Over-correction, where your eyelid is lifted too high
  • Under-correction, where your eyelid is not lifted enough
  • Bleeding into your eye socket
  • Cornea abrasion
  • Cosmetic problems
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

Ptosis surgery involves lifting your eyelid to improve its position and improve your vision. You should consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the results.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your GP for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
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